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Dodge Journey
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Overall: Dodge’s flexible and clever Journey tall wagon gets simplified and better equipped for 2016.

Drivetrain: An older 173-horsepower four-cylinder engine and a significantly more impressive 283-horsepower V6 carry over; automatic transmissions all around and all-wheel-drive offered in V6 versions.

While Dodge no longer has a mid-size sedan, the Journey is filling that hole very nicely. The Journey scores a hole-in-one as a practical, efficient and affordable carrier. It has just-right sizing going for it, which means it’s bigger than the Mitsubishi Outlander but more compact than a Chevrolet Traverse or Ford Explorer. The latter offer standard or optional third-row seating, but all are considerably more expensive than the $21,900-base-price Journey. In entry-level trim, it provides seating for five people, although there’s an available two-place third-row 50:50 split bench. There are also some other clever interior storage options such as a front passenger seat with a flip-forward hinged cushion that’s ideal for concealing cameras, purses and other valuables. And all models have two in-floor storage compartments with removable plastic liners behind the front seats that are large enough to hold a dozen beverage cans each, plus ice. And don’t forget the chilled storage bin inside the glove compartment that can keep a couple of cool beverages at the ready. The Journey uses a 173-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder with four-speed automatic in base models. Optional is a 283-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 with a six-speed auto. For 2016, there are five trim levels carrying over, with the base AVP (American Value Package) and higher-end Limited trims not making the call. The now-base SE doesn’t lose the extra content it had over the AVP, but still rings in at a low $21,900. The Limited has been replaced by the Crossroad Plus and has similar features and price. There’s still likely a Journey for every taste, need and budget. Base equipment includes air conditioning, keyless remote entry, power windows, locks and mirrors and a complete range of safety gear. Crossroad models get special leather seats, gloss-black 19-inch wheels, different chrome trim front and rear and tinted lights. Crossroad Plus and R/T models offer leather seating surfaces, roof rack, backup camera, navigation system, regular 19-inch wheels and a flashlight stored in the cargo area. Four-cylinder models are exclusively front-wheel-drive, but all-wheel-drive is optional with the V6. The system automatically kicks in to direct power to the rear wheels when needed, including slippery mud and snow conditions as well as when the vehicle is accelerating up to 65 mph.